Card Sorting & How it Helps Your Website

card sort similarity matrix
A similarity matrix from a recent card sort

Taking time at the beginning of a web project to ask questions is important. Nearly everyone in the industry would say that requirements gathering is an essential step in developing a website that meets business requirements; however, a lot of the time we miss an important group of people. Card sorting allows us to take a step back from our biases and ask pertinent questions to the users of the website. This is important because biases take all shapes and sizes. For example, if we had a category with cats, dogs, and birds the business might identify this category as animals; however, when conducting the card sort you may find that your users identify this category as pets.

Card sorting allows us to take a step back from our biases and ask pertinent questions to the users of the website.

Card sorting helps explain what categories of information should be on the website and what those categories should be called. Digital Inflection encourages clients to take the time to petition their audience and figure out what they want and not to rely on what we think they want.


Card Sorting Guidelines

Here are some guidelines that Digital Inflection follow:

  • We administer a card sort to 5 people at a time in person
  • For relevant results, 15 participants are required from each primary audience identified
  • Limit content options to 30-40 choices, especially with open card sorts
  • For best results, administer an open card sort to gather category titles and then a closed card sort to identify and clarify associations of content

Analyzing the data can be cumbersome, but that’s what we’re here for. We can develop similarity matrices (pictured)  and dendograms to aid in analysis.

Having the foundation of your website, like the navigation, user-focused will help you easily achieve your business goals.

Ask how Digital Inflection can help you with your next card sort!